My amazing soft whole wheat dinner roll made into beautiful whole wheat crescent rolls! Just as easy to make and shape as the dinner rolls, you get 32 buttery crescent rolls, making them perfect for taking to family dinners and celebrations - or just to stash in your freezer.
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I'm SO excited to share this recipe with you! I took one of my most popular recipes ever, soft and fluffy 100% whole wheat dinner rolls and shaped them into buttery crescent rolls.
They are just as soft and fluffy with a slightly crispy crust, but in a fun shape that results in more rolls from the same recipe. This makes them perfect for larger gatherings like holidays and potlucks.
The rolls are still just as easy to shape, but instead of rolling into balls, you simply divide in half, roll into a circle and use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into triangles. Roll up, set on the baking sheet to rise a bit and then bake.
Voila! Amazingly tender rolls that are healthier than store bought white rolls.
You will be proud to take these anywhere - or just eat at home, of course.
Bonus (as if we needed one!): You can easily make the rolls ahead of time in two ways:
- Bake completely and freeze. Wrap in foil to warm in the oven before serving.
- Freeze shaped, unbaked rolls and bake when you want fresh from the oven rolls.
Ready for a new way to have your all whole wheat rolls?
100% Whole Wheat Crescent Rolls
You'll need the same ingredients as the dinner rolls:
- active dry yeast (instant works, too)
- warm water
- softened butter
- buttermilk or milk
- whole wheat flour (just regular whole wheat, though white whole wheat and spelt work, too)
- more melted butter for brushing, optional
- A stand mixer makes this recipe the easiest - this is the one I have and love, though a smaller one will work fine. You can also make it by hand and some have successfully used the dough cycle in a bread machine.
- Bench scraper or pizza cutter or chef's knife.
- Two large half sheet baking pans (17x12) - this is my absolute favorite USA pan, no need for liners or greasing!
You'll make the dough exactly like the dinner rolls - refer to that page to see the photos of what the dough should look like or watch the dough-making part of the roll video:
After the first rise, few times kneading and 3-minute rest (step 4 in the original dinner rolls recipe), you'll start to shape the crescent rolls:
- Divide the dough in half.
- Set one half aside and use a rolling pin to roll the other half into a circle, roughly 15 inches in diameter. *We are not going for perfection here, if your circle is more oblong or it's not 15 inches, it does't matter - your rolls will turn out fine.*
- Brush melted butter over the circle - or not, it's up to you (but I wouldn't make them without it). You can add seasonings here, too, like garlic powder, Italian seasonings, chopped parsley, or even minced garlic.
- Use a bench scraper, pizza cutter, or chef's knife to cut the circle into 16 triangles. *Again, no perfection required- my triangles are always different sizes, that just means people can choose between bigger or smaller rolls!*
Then roll the triangles up from the widest point to the smallest, setting each on a large baking sheet (lined if needed) with the small point face down on the pan (if you leave them up they tend to start to come unrolled some when baking).
Continue with all the triangles, cover that pan with a towel and then shape the remaining half of dough on another large sheet pan, covering with a towel at the end.
Let the rolls rise for about an hour.
TIP: Set a timer for 45 minutes and start the oven preheating during the last 15 minutes of the rise.
The crescent rolls will have puffed up some after rising.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are browned. Brush with more melted butter while still warm if you'd like. (I usually do though I forgot this time before taking the photos, sadly.)
Let cool a few minutes and enjoy warm or cool completely to freeze for later.
Look at that tender crumb...yum. Can you believe that's all regular whole wheat flour?
I never add butter or anything to these since I usually brush with butter. All you need are these warm out of the oven and you will be in bread heaven.
Whole Wheat Crescent Rolls FAQs
Yes, they are perfect for that! You have two options:
1. Fully bake, let cool, and then freeze. To reheat, cover frozen rolls with foil and place in oven with other food you are cooking (about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven, 8-10 in a 400 degree oven, and so on).
2. After shaping, freeze the rolls on the pan, then move them to a freezer container for up to two months. Remove as many as you need to a greased baking sheet and thaw on counter for 4-5 hours, covered with a towel. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until browned. Brush with butter.
I have only made these with whole wheat. I have made the dinner rolls with white whole wheat as well as spelt, so I know the crescent rolls would work with that, too. As for all-purpose, you can, though that kind of defeats the purpose of a healthier product with more fiber from the whole grain.
Well, if you're talking about real food versus packaged processed, I'm here to say a big "yes."
While the ingredients in a packaged tube of crescent dough also contain flour, sugar, salt and baking powder (instead of yeast), they also contain soybean and palm oil, hydrogenated palm oil, fractionated palm oil, water, mono and diglycerides, TBHQ, Soybean Oil, Vital Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Salt, Monoglycerides, and Potassium Chloride.
My crescent dough recipe contains whole grain flour, butter, honey, yeast, buttermilk, and eggs, resulting in more fiber, protein, and vitamins.
Plus, I happen to think they taste a LOT better!
Crescent rolls are a bread that usually uses yeast to make them light and fluffy.
Croissants are a pastry that starts with a yeast dough, but then uses a layering of butter and dough to produce a light, flaky product (puff pastry, though, doesn't have yeast - it's lightness only comes from the layering of butter and dough).
Soft 100% Whole Wheat Crescent Rolls
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast* (instant works, too)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup lukewarm buttermilk or milk
- 4½ to 4¾ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- melted butter for brushing (optional)
- Dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water in a glass measure. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs and mix, scraping the sides. Add the warmed milk along with the yeast mixture (it will be lumpy, that's okay).
- Add 4½ cups of flour and the salt, mixing until combined. Change to dough hook and knead for 2-3 minutes only, just until no longer tacky (sticks to bowl some, but not to finger), adding only a tablespoon or two of flour at a time, if needed. (Do NOT add too much flour.)
- Let dough sit in bowl, covered, to rise for one hour. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times, then let rest 3 minutes.
- Divide dough in half, setting one half aside. Using a rolling pin, roll one half into a thin circle, about 15 inches in diameter (okay if this isn't perfect).
- Use a pizza cutter, bench scraper, or knife to cut the circle into 16 triangles. Brush the circle with melted butter and any seasonings you'd like like garlic or herbs (optional, but highly recommended).
- Then roll up each triangle from the widest point to the smallest, placing each roll on a greased or lined (if needed) large baking sheet, small point down. Fill the baking sheet with the remaining crescent rolls.
- Roll, brush, cut, and shape the remaining dough half, placing these 16 rolls on another large baking sheet.
- Cover the pans and let the rolls rise for 1 hour (start preheating the oven to 375 at 45 minutes).
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, alternating pans halfway if needed, until browned on the tops and bottoms. Brush with more melted butter while warm (optional but again, recommended).
- Let cool a bit before serving warm, or cool completely to freeze for later.**
- Fully bake, let cool, and then freeze. To reheat, cover frozen rolls with foil and place in oven with other food you are cooking (about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven, 8-10 in a 400 degree oven, and so on).
- After shaping, freeze the rolls on the pan, then move them to a freezer container for up to two months. Remove as many as you need to a greased baking sheet and thaw on counter for 4-5 hours, covered with a towel. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until browned. Brush with butter.